June 30, 2022

In Algiers, Jean-Yves Le Drian initiates Franco-Algerian reconciliation

After verbal de-escalation, resumption of physical contact. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Algiers on Wednesday, December 8 to meet with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in the hope of initiating reconciliation with Algeria, after two months of diplomatic crisis, the most virulent for fifteen years. “I hope that our two countries will resume together the path of a peaceful relationship”, Le Drian told reporters alongside his counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra, adding that France and Algeria should ” To look forward “.

The French minister insisted on ” trust “ To “Reconnect” and on “The deepening of our partnership” – qualified as« indispensable » -, so many pleasant words solemnizing the will of Paris to overcome the recent atrocities. This trip to Algiers extends the hand extended by the Elysee Palace, which let it be known on November 9, through the voice of a member of the presidential entourage, that Emmanuel Macron “Regretted” the “Controversies and misunderstandings”.

The crisis had erupted five weeks earlier, after remarks made during a meeting at the Elysee Palace with “grandchildren” of the Algerian war. The head of state had mentioned a “Algerian politico-military system” which would have been built on the “Memorial rent” and the “Hatred of France”. He went so far as to question the existence of “The Algerian nation (…) before French colonization ”. Denouncing “Irresponsible words”, Algiers replied by recalling its ambassador in Paris for consultation and banned the overflight of its airspace to French military planes participating in Operation “Barkhane” in Mali.

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A long process

The Algerian president then denounced in an interview with the German weekly The mirror from “Insults” who have “Hurt the dignity of Algerians” and fall, according to him, to “The old colonial hatred”. We had to go back to 2005, during the controversy triggered by the adoption at the Palais-Bourbon of an article of law on “Positive role of the French presence in North Africa”, to find traces of such verbal acrimony between the two countries. The new outbreak of fever was all the more paradoxical as Mr. Macron had made a point of honor to launch his construction site. “Memorial reconciliation”, in his view a prerequisite for a lasting normalization of the bilateral relationship.

The outbreak of the crisis undermined a number of joint actions that Paris intended to carry out with Algiers, in particular in the stabilization of the Sahelo-Saharan zone, where the issues of Mali and Libya are priorities. “With a partner as essential as Algeria, we cannot afford long to be in a degraded situation”, says one in the entourage of Mr. Le Drian.

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